Friday, February 28, 2014

Dessert Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Dessert Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
If you may or may not know, cooking is one of the things I do that relaxes me. I enjoy making all sorts of things (and eating them as well). Here is a wonderful recipe for homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cups....easy, delicious, and decadent. It is from a site called

Dessert Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
One treat found in just about any candy shop here in America is the peanut butter cup. While the industry is pretty much ruled by one snack that begins with the letter 'R', we recently began to wonder if we can make our own. And the answer turned out to be "Of course we can!"
So the secret to a good peanut butter cup isn't the chocolate. What really makes them shine is finding the right peanut butter center. We couldn't use just peanut butter because that would leave the wrong texture, and would probably effect the shape of the cups we've come to hold dear. The trick, we found, was to mix the peanut butter in with some confectioners' sugar and graham cracker crumbs. It provided just the right amount of sweetness with some firmness to it as well to make the peanut butter cups a perfect no-bake treat. Keep reading below for our recipe.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs


Line a mini-muffin tin with cupcake liners, set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine peanut butter, butter, and the brown sugar. Heat until completely melted, and starting to bubble a little, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat, then add the powdered sugar and graham cracker, about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until completely combined before adding more. Set aside to allow to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and shortening together in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each increment until melted.
Spoon a little melted chocolate into the bottom of each lined muffin cup (you want to leave chocolate leftover.)
Use a heaping teaspoon to scoop out the peanut butter mixture, and roll into a thick disk (you want it to fit comfortably into the muffin tins without quite touching the edges) for each cup in the mini muffin cup. Once finished with all of the peanut butter mixture, refrigerate both the muffin tins and the peanut butter for 30 minutes.
Place a peanut butter patty into each lined up in the tin, then use a scoop or a spoon to add more melted chocolate on top (you'll probably need to re-melt the chocolate in the microwave for a few more 30 second bursts). Make sure the chocolate goes over and around each patty.
Refrigerate again for 30 minutes, then serve! Store in the fridge or freezer.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why Children Need Pets

‘Doggy doctor shopping’ case has police cautioning veterinarians to be aware

It is because of cases like these that we require a client/patient relationship with our hospital before prescribing medications. We cannot and will not prescribe medications for a pet we have not seen. In addition, with the use of controlled drugs or medications which can be abused we pay careful attention to how fast a client may go through a prescription.

When certain drugs are prescribed  for a pet that may have effects on certain organs like the liver or kidney we require that blood tests are periodically checked to be certain that these organs are functioning normally. We take all the precautions to protect your pets, but are also alert to be certain that no abuse of any of these drugs occur as well.
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Police arrested a South Salt Lake man Friday who they believe was using his dog to get prescription drugs for himself.
Oliver Clifton Moore was arrested Friday after a veterinarian in Cottonwood Heights alerted police. Moore later admitted he was going to different veterinarians and using his dog to help feed his own addiction, police said.
When Moore brought his dog to American Paws Veterinary Hospital at 7884 Highland Drive on Jan. 23, veterinarian Jolie Pope said she had no reason to believe something fishy might be going on.
“Initially, I wasn’t suspicious,” Pope said Saturday. “He was actually a very nice gentleman.”

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Police arrested a South Salt Lake man Friday who they believe was using his dog to get prescription drugs for himself.
Oliver Clifton Moore was arrested Friday after a veterinarian in Cottonwood Heights alerted police. Moore later admitted he was going to different veterinarians and using his dog to help feed his own addiction, police said.
When Moore brought his dog to American Paws Veterinary Hospital at 7884 Highland Drive on Jan. 23, veterinarian Jolie Pope said she had no reason to believe something fishy might be going on.
“Initially, I wasn’t suspicious,” Pope said Saturday. “He was actually a very nice gentleman.”


Boy's death from infected rat spurs suit vs. Petco

From AOL online....

Boy's death from infected rat spurs suit vs. Petco

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The death of a 10-year-old San Diego boy from a bacterial infection he reportedly got from his pet rat prompted his family to sue retailer Petco, saying they want to raise awareness among parents.

Attorney John Gomez told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his firm filed the lawsuit Monday in San Diego County seeking an unspecified amount for the suffering endured by the Pankey family, whose son, Aidan, died June 12, 2013, hours after he was rushed to the hospital with severe stomach pains.

The San Diego County medical examiner's office ruled that the cause of death was streptobacillus moniliformis infection, commonly known as rat-bite fever, after exposure to an infected rat.

Gomez said the Pankey family was not giving interviews, but they are devastated by the death.

"It's a means to ensure this doesn't happen again," Gomez said of the lawsuit. "Apparently there was some breakdown in procedures. They want tighter controls."

According to the lawsuit, the rat appeared safe. But the lawsuit says Petco should have known about the rodent's health and did not adequately test for the disease. It also says that negligence led to the boy's death, which has caused his parents, Andrew Pankey and Vanessa Sauer, emotional and economic hardship, and that the retailer did not post adequate warnings about the potential risks, especially for children.

Petco Animal Supplies Inc. said it is "in the process of investigating these claims and will respond appropriately when we have more information."

Meanwhile, the retailer in a statement expressed its condolences.
"We are deeply saddened by the Pankey family's tragic loss," Petco said. "The health and safety of people and pets is always a top priority, and we take the family's concerns very seriously."

The boy's grandmother purchased the male rat, which Aidan named Alex, because her only grandson wanted a mate for his female rat, Gomez said. The boy took the rat home May 27, 2013, and woke up the night of June 11 in severe pain with a fever and stomach problems. He was pale, lethargic and could barely walk, according to the lawsuit. He died at 1:09 a.m. the next day.

"He was a bright, energetic, friendly, happy kid who actually had a prior rat, who was a female, and he had this idea in his young head of having his female rat get married," Gomez said.

The lawsuit was not filed until now because attorneys were awaiting the lab results from the federal Centers for Disease Control, which tested the rat to confirm it was infected, Gomez said. The agency could not immediately confirm the results Tuesday.

According to the CDC, people can contract rat-bite fever from bites or scratches from infected rodents, such as rats, mice and gerbils, or even just by handling an animal with the disease without a bite or scratch. It can also be contracted by consuming food or drink contaminated with the bacteria. It is not spread from person to person.

Antibiotics, such as penicillin, are highly effective at treating rat-bite fever, and it is rarely fatal, according to the CDC.

The CDC says those at higher risk of contracting the illness are people with pet rats or who work with rats in laboratories or pet stores, or live in rat-infested buildings. The agency recommends that people who handle rats or clean their cages wear protective gloves, wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their mouths with their hands after being in contact with rodents.

Petco also mentions preventative measures for rat-bite fever in information it posts online and provides in stores. The company warns that all rats are potential carriers and that pregnant women, children under the age of 5 and people with weakened immune systems should contact their doctor before buying a rat and "should consider not having a rat as a pet."

Only about 200 cases of rat-bite fever had been documented in the U.S. as of 2004, according to the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University. Scientists believe the disease may be underdiagnosed because it is hard to detect and responds to commonly used antibiotics. But the number of cases, they say, may be increasing, especially among children, with the growing popularity of rats as pets.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Vaccinations: What to expect after your pet's vaccination

From the American Veterinary Medical Association-

Vaccinations: What to expect after your pet's vaccination

It is common for pets to experience some or all of the following mild side effects after receiving a vaccine, usually starting within hours of the vaccination. If these side effects last for more than a day or two, or cause your pet significant discomfort, it is important for you to contact your veterinarian:
  • Discomfort and local swelling at the vaccination site
  • Mild fever
  • Decreased appetite and activity
  • Sneezing, mild coughing, "snotty nose" or other respiratory signs may occur 2-5 days after your pet receives an intranasal vaccine
More serious, but less common side effects, such as allergic reactions, may occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. These reactions can be life-threatening and are medical emergencies. Seek veterinary care immediately if any of these signs develop:
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Itchy skin that may seem bumpy ("hives")
  • Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
  • Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Collapse
A small, firm swelling under the skin may develop at the site of a recent vaccination. It should start to disappear within a couple weeks. If it persists more than three weeks, or seems to be getting larger, you should contact your veterinarian.

Always inform your veterinarian if your pet has had prior reactions to any vaccine or medication. If in doubt, wait for 30-60 minutes following vaccination before taking your pet home.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How to Cope With the Loss of a Pet

Pet loss should never be trivialized.....they are important members of our family.

How to cope with the loss of a pet

  • Dog face iStock

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” --  Anatole France

Last summer, I was invited to attend a small gathering to commemorate the death of a poodle. Karen and Bill buried Koby’s collar in their New Jersey backyard and shared humorous and heartfelt stories about the decade they shared with their beloved and temperamental rescue dog.

As someone who didn’t grow up with pets, I started to appreciate the palpable loss surrounding the death of a pet and the difficulty of coping with feelings of grief for an animal.

“I know it may seem silly,” Cara cried in my office as she described feeling heartbroken that her cat Lola was ill and had a poor prognosis.  She quickly explained, “I know she’s just a cat…”

Friends and family didn’t seem to grasp Cara’s sadness, and as a result, she felt embarrassed for feeling so strongly.

Sean, another client, felt particularly distraught when he described putting his Goldendoodle down. He missed spending time with Rusty and also felt guilty about having to lay him to rest.

“I know he was suffering, but I still feel like I should have been able to keep him alive,” he said.
Over 164 million U.S. households enjoy the company of pets, according to The Humane Society of the United States. So many of us love our pets, yet feel uncertain about how to mourn the loss of our furry friends. When people around you don’t understand your loss, you may feel like you’re overreacting which will only add to your pain and interrupt cathartic grief.

Pets aren’t just animals--they can provide meaningful company and therapeutic benefits to people of all ages.  For example, research shows that when older adults with dementia are paired with therapy dogs, they often experience significant reductions in depression.

In another study, children who suffered sexual abuse who participated in animal-assisted therapy benefited from reduced post-traumatic experiences, as compared to other group treatments.  Given the notable comfort a pet can provide, it makes good sense for you to feel pain around losing a pet.

If you’ve lost a pet, here are some suggestions on how to cope with your loss:

1. Don’t discount your feelings. When we give love, we feel love. Of course you feel sad. Deep sadness doesn’t mean you’re too emotional--caring means you’re loving and human.

2. Don’t blame yourself. Guilt is an emotion that complicates existing grief. It’s not your fault. Use your loss to practice some self-compassion, reminding yourself you did the best you could and deserve to practice good self-care. We are often kinder to others than we are to ourselves. Now is a time to treat yourself the way you’d treat a cherished friend.

3. Surround yourself with people who honor how you feel. How supported we feel has a lot to do with who we rely on for comfort. Some friends may be more empathic than others. If you feel alone, many cities offer pet loss support groups.

4. Pursue meaningful rituals.  Find a heartfelt way to channel your sadness. If your birthday is approaching and you love your local animal shelter, you could request donations from your loved ones in lieu of gifts. Think of other ways to commemorate your loss, such as gathering with friends to talk about your beloved pet or sharing photos and memories. Finding meaning in pain is one way to circumvent drowning in distress.

If you are wondering how to best offer support to a friend who has lost a pet, it can be helpful to listen and understand your friend's experience, rather than offer platitudes. True friendship is the willingness to sit patiently with someone experiencing sadness.

Jennifer Taitz  is a licensed clinical psychologist based in New York City.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

American Red Cross releases Pet First Aid app featuring AAHA-accredited hospitals

We have been accredited since 1953 and are very proud of our status.

A new mobile phone app from the American Red Cross not only helps pet owners find emergency veterinary care, it directs them exclusively toward AAHA-accredited hospitals to ensure their pets end up in expert hands.

According to Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP, CEO of AAHA, the American Red Cross's decision for the app to feature AAHA hospitals benefits both pets and their owners.

"We know from our research that 90 percent of pet owners will seek an accredited hospital once they understand that not all animal hospitals are accredited," said Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP, CEO of AAHA. "The AAHA-Accredited Hospital Locator makes it very easy for pet owners who value the bond they have with their pets to find expert veterinary care at accredited hospitals. The practice teams at AAHA-accredited practices are ready and willing to provide the best in veterinary care to pets and strive for the best customer care for the pet owners."

Pet First Aid app features
The Pet First Aid app provides pet owners with life-saving advice and resources before, during, and after veterinary emergencies. In an emergency situation, the app advises pet owners to take their pet to a veterinarian for emergency care. It also enables owners to search by hospital name and the user's current location to quickly locate veterinary assistance.

Other valuable app features for pet owners and emergency workers include:
  • Programmable veterinary contact number easily accessed throughout the app
  • Early warning sign checker for preventive care
  • First aid steps for more than 25 common pet situations
  • Instructions for emergency procedures including size-specific CPR
  • Resources to help owners identify common toxins
  • Educational quizzes about a variety of emergency pet health topics such as CPR, bleeding, and bite wounds
  • Profile-building feature where pet owners can include pet's medications, notes about medical history, and veterinarian contact information 
Jen Leary, founder of Red Paw Emergency Relief Team based in Philadelphia, Penn., said the app has already come in handy several times during their efforts.

"We have used the app several times since it has come out," Leary said. "We use it primarily on-scene when we are in the counties and need to find an emergency vet hospital close by or if an animal is at a foster and we need to find a vet in the area."

The app is available for both iPhone and Android for 99 cents.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Dog, cat food tainted with salmonella recalled

Dog, cat food tainted with salmonella recalled

By Lynne Terry
updated February 06, 2014 

An Ohio pet food manufacturer announced a recall on Thursday over salmonella contamination.

Pro-Pet LLC, which makes Hubbard Life, Joy Combo and QC Plus pet food, said it is pulling dry food sold nationwide after a lab test found the bacteria. Salmonella can harm both pets and people who handle the food and don't thoroughly wash their hands afterwards. Here are the recalled products: Hubbard Life Happy Hound Dog Food, Hubbard Life Cat Stars Cat Food, Hubbard Life Maintenance Dog Food, Joy Combo Cat Food andQC Plus Adult Dog Food.

The recalled products were sold online and to retailers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Infected people can cause a range of gastrointestinal symptoms. Sick pets can become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Be wary of Internet advice about treating your animals

Long: Be wary of Internet advice about treating your animals

I recently came across an article on Yahoo! titled “Home Remedies for Vomiting Dogs.

If your dog is vomiting, deciding how long you will attempt to treat it at home is probably something of a matter of personal choice. For some people, one episode of vomiting brings them right to the veterinarian. Others seem OK with waiting it out. Typically other factors play a role in the decision. If the dog is otherwise perky, with a normal appetite and no other symptoms, you might give it a day to see how things progress. If the dog is lethargic, not interested in eating and/or drinking, seems painful or restless, you’d absolutely better bring it in.

So let’s say you’ve decided that you’re going to wait things out and see how your dog does at home. You sit down to your computer and ask Dr. Google, and he comes back to you with the above-mentioned article.

The first suggestion on the list recommends feeding a bland diet, and the second recommends total fasting for 24 hours. Clearly, you can’t do both of these, so how do you decide which to do? Trying a combination of these seems reasonable. Waiting six to eight hours, then offering a small “test” meal of boiled chicken and white rice is a common strategy.

Another point the author makes is that feeding canned pumpkin and yogurt may help to settle the stomach. While canned pumpkin may offer benefit to animals in need of more fiber, it does nothing to calm an upset stomach, and yogurt doesn’t have enough microorganisms in it to sufficiently alter gut flora to the benefit of the animal.

The author points out that dogs that are vomiting can become dehydrated, and this is true. Dehydrated dogs can have serious electrolyte imbalances, which can almost never be corrected by oral replacement alone. This is because vomiting dogs are typically nauseous as well, and getting them to consume enough fluids orally to replace what they have lost is next to impossible. The article suggests offering them a bowl of Pedialyte, the electrolyte replacement solution that is often fed to infants and small children. If your dog is sufficiently dehydrated to need electrolyte supplementation, he needs to be in the hospital getting it intravenously, as he’s unlikely to drink it on his own.

The last suggestion in the article is that dogs that are vomiting need sugar, since they are at risk for hypoglycemia because they aren’t eating, and they are losing glucose through vomiting. Adult dogs are capable of making glucose in the liver, so glucose supplementation is almost never needed with simple vomiting. Puppies that are vomiting may develop hypoglycemia, but a little bit of honey on the gums every six to eight hours, as the author suggests, will do almost nothing to correct it.

Information obtained on the Internet, while inexpensive, may not be helpful or even accurate. Your best bet is to consult your veterinarian for advice.

Christie Long is a veterinarian at the VCA Fort Collins Animal Hospital.

Not All Thieves are Stupid

The new technology available to us makes things much more convenient, but can also be used against us by enterprising thieves. Please protect yourselves.

Some people left their car in the long-term parking at San Jose while away, and someone broke into the car.  Using the information on the car's registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the people's home in Pebble Beach and robbed it.  So I guess if we are going to leave the car in long-term parking, we should NOT leave the registration/insurance cards in it, nor your remote garage door opener.  This gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.

2.  GPS:
Someone had their car broken into while they were at a football game.  Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans.  Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.  When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen.  The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house.  They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house.  The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house.  It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.  Something to consider if you have a GPS - don't put your home address in it... Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.

I never thought of this....... This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her cell phone after her handbag was stolen.  Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc., was stolen.  Twenty minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says, "I received your text asking about our Pin number and I've replied a little while ago."  When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn.  The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text "hubby" in the contact list and got hold of the pin number.  Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.
Moral of the lesson:
a. Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc....
b. And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.
c. Also, when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them.  If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet "family and friends" who text you.

A lady went grocery-shopping at a local mall and left her purse sitting in the children's seat of the cart while she reached something off a shelf... wait till you read the WHOLE story!  Her wallet was stolen, and she reported it to the store personnel.  After returning home, she received a phone call from the Mall Security to say that they had her wallet and that although there was no money in it, it did still hold her personal papers.  She immediately went to pick up her wallet, only to be told by Mall Security that they had not called her.  By the time she returned home again, her house had been broken into and burglarized.  The thieves knew that by calling and saying they were Mall Security, they could lure her out of her house long enough for them to burglarize it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hundreds of Dead Imported Exotic Animals Found at South Africa Airport


Hundreds of dead animals found at South Africa airport

Some of the animals South African authorities are investigating whether any law was broken

Some 400 endangered amphibians and reptiles have died from dehydration and improper shipping in South Africa, animal inspectors say.

More than 1,600 animals were discovered crammed into two crates at the OR Tambo International Airport. The survivors are being treated at a local zoo.

The animals, from Madagascar, had been without water and food for at least five days, reports say.
They are believed to have been destined for the exotic pet market in the US.
animals in a tub The animals came from Madagascar - one of the world's biological hotspots
The surviving animals have been taken to the Johannesburg Zoo, where they are said to be "stable".

"A substantial number have stabilised, eating and drinking, there are about over 1,200 that have survived - others with irreparable damage," the zoo's veterinarian Brett Gardener told the BBC.

Mr Gardener said while some losses can be expected when shipping animals over long distances, what possibly exacerbated this particular case was the delay to the connecting flight to the US.

"The boxes arrived on Tuesday morning and were scheduled to connect on a flight that evening. The flight was delayed indefinitely due to bad weather and attempts to put them in another flight failed," he said.

The animals were found on Wednesday after an inspector from the National Society for the Prevent of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) noticed "a bad smell" during a routine cargo inspection and found that some of the animals in the boxes had begun decomposing and some were barely alive.

'Animal cruelty' The animals, which included at least 30 different species of frogs, chameleons, lizards and toads and geckos, had been placed in two crates about half a metre in size - one on top of the other.

The chameleons were tied in small muslin bags, while the other reptiles and amphibians were crammed into small plastic tubs.
Animals in plastic containers The find includes some endangered species
Some of the animals were so tightly packed together that they were unable to move or turn around, local media report.

Many of the recovered animals were classified as endangered, vulnerable, or threatened, according to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

Those on Cites appendix II protocol, meaning that they can be traded, but only with a special permit.
The Star newspaper reports that they did have the authorisation but local animal rights groups have called for an investigating into how the consignment came to arrive in South Africa.

The NSPCA and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are further investigating the matter.
"The authorities suspect that there are South African agents involved [who work as middle men] and once investigations are finalised they would be charged with animal cruelty," said Ainsley Hay, head of the NSPCA's Wildlife Unit.

The department will be contacting authorities from Madagascar to discuss what should be done with the animals, until then they will be treated in some zoos locally.

Madagascar, the fourth largest island on the planet, is deemed one of the world's biological hotspots.